A pair of leggings are a go-to lower body garment for most women during the cold season. Women look forward to its thick and elastic fabric which allows them to move freely and be protected from the cold weather. But also during the warm season or at home leggings can be the garment of choice. A good example is the popular Lululemon leggings, which made this type of clothing trendy again. Regular leggings can be made better when the clothing product is custom-made especially for your preferences regarding cut and fabric. In this article, let us explore the idea of how to manufacture custom leggings. From the design conception, fabric selection, and all the way up to other technicalities.
Patterns, Fabrics, and Prototypes
Not to be confused with print and textile design, garment patterns are a vital piece of development. Patterns are used to cut out the pieces of fabric needed to assemble the garment. Think of a tech pack as the picture on the front of a puzzle box, and the pattern as the puzzle pieces – assuming that the picture on the front of the box included all of the steps for putting the puzzle together.
Patterns can be drafted by hand or digitally. Each manufacturer has its own preference, so be sure that you choose a method that is easily transferable to your factory. If you are unsure then connect your patternmaker with your factory. That way, they can work together as a team to make the transition as easy as possible.
While you are working through the patterning process, it is important to start perusing fabrics and trims that you would like to try and use for your design. Leggings are generally made from a knit Poly-Spandex blend, but don’t let this custom prevent you from being creative. Playing with different types of mesh or colors can elevate what could be another run-of-the-mill tight to a yoga pant that is fun and all your own.
Once you have developed the first iteration of your pattern, and you’ve received sample yardage for your selected fabric, it is time for your first prototype! This is the first time you will really see your design turn into a product. It is the stage where your efforts start to feel real.
Concept and Technical Design
Your product starts here. In this stage, you consider high-level questions like the target demographic and trend infusion. Don’t worry if you can’t draw. You can find inspiration from the internet – Pinterest and Google Images are great starting points. If you like having a physical board to lay out all of your ideas, print out your concept imagery and tack them to a foam board. Circle the elements that you like, or engage in any way you feel helps to express your idea.
Technical design (or “tech pack”) is the practice of taking all of these concepts and putting them in a format that you will hand off to your pattern maker and manufacturer. Similar to the blueprints contractors use to guide them in building houses, your tech pack is a blueprint for assembling the garment. It includes information about the construction and finishing of the garment, measurements, stitch and hem details, and so forth. Although some manufacturers may not require this information, tech packs are highly recommended to ensure consistency and quality throughout the manufacturing process. More detail is better.
The most basic things to keep in mind when designing your legging are inseam length and utility. Beyond that, make the legging design your own with unique hidden pockets, print design, or color blocking. If you are designing your legging for running, incorporating reflective accents is a way to add functional style to your design.
Samples, Grading, and Size Sets
Once the prototypes are approved and your pattern is finalized, the next steps are sales sample production and grading. Sales samples aren’t just used for sales, they can be used for photography, marketing, and working with a new factory. It is recommended that you produce a sales sample for each factory that you work with and each of your company’s sales representatives. This rule of thumb cuts down on transit times which would otherwise occur if you were shipping samples back and forth.
Grading is the process of sizing your approved garment pattern up and down for each size your legging comes in. A size set is the collective group of prototypes created for each size, to ensure that the pattern was successfully graded.
Production: Looking for a Custom Leggings Manufacturer
Choosing your factory isn’t a simple task. Although pricing is one important factor, other factors include, has this factory had to experience sewing activewear? What are their minimum order quantities? How are the factory’s communication skills? If something goes wrong, will they notify you?
Before signing on for production with any manufacturer, have them sew up a sample. This will answer any questions they may have and give you an opportunity to adjust your tech pack and pattern to better fit the factory’s needs.
When selecting a reliable custom leggings manufacturer you can work with, it is important to consider skills and reputation to make sure your custom leggings project is done the right way. Sewing leggings requires skill and technique considering the tailor or seamstress has to deal with challenging fabric that is stretchable and thin. You have to make sure the manufacturer you are working that has experience in working with clothing garments particularly leggings in the past.
Your potential clothing manufacturer has to be reputable in a positive way given they have a good track record and have successfully worked with multiple clients in the past. This factor is a good measure of how to assess manufacturers and you can rest assured you’d have a promising working relationship later on with your projects. Their reputation in and around the industry is primarily the reason why they have been around for quite some time now.
Learning how to make custom leggings is the first step for your leggings startup-plan. The dimensions, sewing patterns, and all other manufacturing aspects are all determining the outcome of the project. Given leggings is a type of clothing product that requires specific fit and comfort, product creation is critical and a small difference in terms of dimensions and seam allowance can already impact the product in a big manner. Look at many references before you decide on your custom leggings design.